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Allon Richards at the PanAm Chess Scholastics.

Allon Richards at the PanAm Chess Scholastics.

As the nine-round 2013 Pan American Scholastic Chess Championship being played at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Trinidad moves to its climax, Barbadian players have been positioning themselves over the Easter weekend for a run at the medals in the various age categories.

The tournament is being played in the Under 7, 9, 11,13, 15 and 17 female and open with Barbados taking part in the Under 13,15 and 17 open sections.Barbados is doing best in the Under 15 section, where Allon Richards of Foundation School sits in the lead with 4 Ω points from 6 ahead of local top rated junior Yutien Poon of The Lodge School and Trinidad and Tobago’s national junior champion Joshua Johnson also on the same points. Richards took the lead in round five, when he defeated the then unbeaten leader, Gian Troyani of Venezuela.

It was sweet revenge as Troyani had defeated Poon earlier. Richards then held on to a share of the lead when he drew dramatically in a disadvantageous position against Puerto Rico’s Gabriel Pinales in round six.In round five, Poon played an attacking game against Johnson in which he launched a furious attack with numerous sacrificial offers. However, in the heat of the battle, Poon could not find the correct continuation and Johnson wriggled out with a draw. Poon then bounced back for a share of the lead by crushing Daniel Bhola of Trinidad in round six. In round seven, Richards and Poon will battle against each other while Johnson will play Bhola.In the Under 17 open section, The Lodge School pair of Jakeel and Jerome Harewood, sit in fifth and sixth position on 3 Ω and 3 points respectively.

In an evenly competitive field, they have found the going tough but have been steadily improving with each game. In round six, Jerome had a bye, but Jakeel had a hard fought draw against third place Raul Bigoria of Peru. This section is led by Leonardi Troyani of Venezuela with 5 points from six games.

In the Under 13 section, Barbados have also been fighting tough. Luke Cardoza of Providence and Niccolo Walrond of Queen’s College both have 3 points from six games to sit in the middle of the field.In the last round Walrond fell to the current leader Marcelo Bernal of Chile while Cardoza fell to Sean Bridgelalsingh of Trinidad. Bernal has dominated this section winning all of his 6 games so far and seems assured of the title.

In the Under 7 section Marcelo Salazar of Chile leads; in the Under 9 John Castenada of Venezuela and Costa Rica’s Annie Shih co-lead; in the Under 11 Trinidad’s Sean Yearwood is out front and in the Under 13 girls section Puerto Rico’s Danitza Vazquez and Maria Alvarez of Venezuela share the lead.†††

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